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TO:                         House Republicans

FROM:                  Kevin McCarthy

DATE:                    May 29, 2015

SUBJECT:             June Agenda

“Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.”

 – Theodore Roosevelt

May: a short month with a long list of victories. Looking at what the House accomplished in May is a great indicator of how hard all of our members and the committees are working to produce good legislation that shows the American people that Washington is working again.  In just two weeks, the House passed:

  • Six bills dedicated to expanding opportunities and services for veterans so that the brave men and women who defend our freedom are never forgotten.
  • Four bills in honor of Police Week so that we show appreciation to those protecting our communities and the officers killed in the line of duty.
  • The Regulatory Integrity Protection Act so that property owners are protected from a government regulatory power grab over our nation’s water.
  • The National Defense Authorization Act so that our armed forces can meet the challenges they face keeping America safe.
  • The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act so that Congress and the American people have a say in any agreement on Iran’s nuclear program.
  • The USA Freedom Act so that Americans’ civil liberties are protected while maintaining our intelligence agencies’ capabilities to defend the homeland.
  • The Legislative Branch appropriations bill so that we can continue to limit Congress’ spending on itself, which has resulted in $782 million in savings to taxpayers since the Republican majority began in 2011.
  • Nine bills to spur innovation so that we invest in and promote the entrepreneurial spirit that will lead to the next big idea.
  • Extended authorities under the Highway Trust Fund so that we continue critical infrastructure projects during the busy construction season.
  • The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act so that we protect the most vulnerable among us.

As I’ve said from the beginning of this Congress, the House will focus on freedom, opportunity, and accountability in everything that we do. We’ll continue to do so in June with bills that preserve our freedom from foreign threats, promote opportunity with real education reform and a growing economy supported by free trade, ensure seniors have control over their healthcare, and protect people from Washington overreach.

Additionally, the House will continue the annual appropriations process. Stay tuned to floor schedule announcements for specific dates for consideration of the upcoming appropriations bills.

June 1st – 4th

The American fishing industry doesn’t just put food on the plates of millions of American families; it also supports jobs and the economy. To ensure that our fisheries remain strong, we will kick off the month completing consideration of H.R. 1335, the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act (D. Young). This reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act will increase local control so that councils and local stakeholders have greater ability to manage their fisheries. It will also promote the conservation and management of U.S. fishery resources, ensure sustainable domestic fisheries can be harvested in federal waters, and provide for a thriving domestic seafood industry.

Additionally, if the Senate does not pass the overwhelmingly bipartisan House-passed USA FREEDOM Act (H.R. 2048), further action on the expiring provisions of the PATRIOT Act may be necessary.

June 9th – 12th

This will be a busy week starting with two important bills from the Agriculture Committee:

  • H.R. 2289, the Commodity End-User Relief Act (Conaway) to reauthorize the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. This bill will ensure that businesses can effectively use the derivatives market to manage their risk, enhance consumer protections, and protect job creators from unfair regulations.
  • H.R. 2393, Repealing Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) for Beef, Pork and Chicken (Conaway) to bring the U.S. into compliance with WTO rules. Without immediate action, businesses from every sector of the economy could face retaliation from Canada and Mexico that could cost the U.S. economy billions.  To see what COOL retaliation could mean for your state, click here.

The House will end the week with consideration of the Fiscal Year 2016 Intelligence Authorization Act (Nunes), which provides the intelligence community with the authorization it needs to protect and defend the United States. It supports critical national security programs, such as those protecting Americans against terrorism and cyber attacks. The total funding authorized by the bill is consistent with the Budget Resolution and the Budget Control Act, balancing fiscal discipline and national security. Passing annual intelligence authorization acts is a vital component of Congressional oversight responsibilities, and helps ensure that the country’s intelligence agencies have the resources and authorities necessary to keep Americans safe.

June 15th – 18th

With the economic downturn and rising health care costs, seniors, like so many other Americans, have seen their finances spread thin. Obamacare makes it even worse. Beyond Obamacare’s added costs, reduced choice and access to Medicare Advantage plans for seniors, the law’s 15 person Independent Payment Advisory Board acts as a de facto rationing body through arbitrary cuts to providers that can effectively stop access to care in order to control costs.

In the name of helping seniors, Obamacare is actually hurting them by weakening Medicare and increasing costs. The House is acting this week to uphold our promise to defend America’s seniors with a combination of the following bills from the Ways and Means Committee that reduce the costs of Obamacare, stop Medicare rationing, and improve the Medicare Advantage (MA) program:

  • H.R. 160, the Protect Medical Innovation Act (Paulsen), which repeals the onerous 2.3% excise tax on medical device manufacturers which not only harms jobs and innovation but also seniors who rely on these life-saving devices.
  • H.R. 1190, the Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act (Roe), which repeals the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a panel of 15 unelected and unaccountable government bureaucrats tasked with reducing Medicare costs through arbitrary cuts to providers, limiting access to care for seniors.
  • H.R. 2505, the Medicare Advantage Coverage Transparency Act of 2015 (M. Kelly), which requires greater transparency by requiring the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to annually report on enrollment data in MA plans.
  • H.R. 2506, the Seniors’ Health Care Plan Protection Act of 2015 (Buchanan), which delays the authority to terminate MA contracts for plans failing to achieve minimum quality ratings under the Medicare Advantage STARS rating system – allowing seniors to choose and keep the plan that fits their needs.
  • H.R. 2507, the Increasing Regulatory Fairness Act of 2015 (K. Brady), which expands an annual regulatory schedule for MA payment rates so that stakeholders have the necessary time to review and provide feedback to ensure seniors continue to have access to quality low-cost plans of their choosing.
  • H.R 2579, the Securing Care for Seniors Act of 2015 (Black), which requires CMS to reevaluate and as appropriate make changes to the MA risk adjustment model to ensure that it is accurate, evidence-based and transparent so that seniors can maintain the choice and access to low-cost quality plans. The legislation also includes a Sense of Congress regarding ongoing efforts to reform the Medicare Advantage STARS program.
  • H.R. 2570, the Value Based Insurance Design for Better Care Act of 2015 (Black), which establishes a demonstration program that removes barriers and allows plans to innovate and incentivize high-value care that promotes better health outcomes through  varying their plan benefits based on beneficiary population.

The House may also consider H.R. 6, the 21st Century Cures Act (Upton). This important bill aims to make sure government doesn’t get in the way of, but rather enables, innovation through streamlining and accelerating the discovery, development, and delivery of medical cures for patients.

June 23rd – 26th

The House will end the month with several bills from the Energy and Commerce Committee which will protect consumers from burdensome & costly EPA regulations, keep the decision power in the hands of the states, and help modernize outdated laws:

  • H.R. 2042, the Ratepayer Protection Act (Whitfield), which addresses EPA’s pending carbon dioxide (CO2) regulations for existing power plants. It would allow for judicial review of any final rule before states would be required to comply and would empower states to protect families and businesses from electricity rate increases, reduced electric reliability, and other harmful effects.
  • H.R. 1734, the Improving Coal Combustion Residuals Regulation Act (McKinley), which is a bipartisan bill that provides job-creators, and over 300,000 workers, with certainty by putting states in charge of the enforcement authority to implement the standards set by EPA regarding the safe disposal of coal ash.
  • H.R. 2576, TSCA Modernization Act (Shimkus), which is bipartisan legislation to modernize our nation’s chemical safety laws for the 21st Century by improving the protection of human health and the environment while encouraging continued innovation, growth, and American leadership in this vital economic sector.

Additional Items

In a global economy, we need more American trade to increase prosperity. When we open new markets to American goods and consumers, it’s the people who benefit with jobs and lower prices. However, when America steps back from the world stage, other countries, like China, step in to dictate the rules of the global economy according to their own interests.

To preserve American interests abroad, grow our economy, and increase commerce, the House will likely consider H.R. 1314, the Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (as amended by the Senate), which reauthorizes Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and strengthens Congress’ role in trade policy. When TPA is considered, the House will also consider the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 and the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015.

Additionally, the House is expected to resume consideration of H.R. 5, the Student Success Act (Kline) in order to restore local control in elementary and secondary education. Our education system is failing too many students who are trying hard to succeed. By reducing the federal role and increasing freedom in education, we can give our children the opportunity they deserve to achieve their dreams.

Exact timing for consideration of these bills will be relayed as soon as possible.